Start Farming Blog
Fruit growers are constantly manipulating tree canopies to maximize fruit production. This is done in two ways: by pruning to remove limbs or shoots or by bending limbs or shoots in specific orientations.
Tips on people and time management from John Good, Quiet Creek Farm. Delegation, hiring, setting expectations, prioritizing, and efficiencies are critical as you grow your operation.
Beef, sheep, meat-goat and swine producers looking for information on how to make their livestock enterprises more profitable can take advantage of four home-study courses offered by Penn State Extension this winter.
For small scale vegetable growers just getting started, these two hot bed systems are a step up from growing under lights or in your kitchen window without all the costs of heating an entire greenhouse. Hot beds provide enough bottom heat to transplants enhancing germination, stimulating root growth and keeping transplants above freezing on cold nights.
The Penn State Tree Fruit Pathology Program has established a Twitter account to be another tool for folks to receive updates, information, and interesting pictures. Please start following!
Penn State Extension is offering a new series of discussion groups in Spanish for next generation growers made possible by a Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant. A group of Hispanic growers are partnering in a production unit and plan to produce cilantro, jalapeño peppers, bell peppers, epazote, onions, tomatillos and lettuce. They expect to sell these items at local Mexican restaurants and stores in the 50 mile radius of their community.
A farm can provide benefits to a community that are not always easy to measure in economic terms. A farm can keep land in agricultural production, be used as a teaching tool or be used to grow food for charity. A for-profit farm may not have the capacity or time to focus on these types of educational or charitable activities.
On the opening day of the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, the Penn State Extension Young Grower Alliance is hosting a lunch for young growers interested in networking with others pursuing the unique lifestyle involved in farming and horticulture. Featured Speaker Julie Bancroft who is with the Pennsylvania Apple Marketing Board will address Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Marketing Specialty Crops. We will also hear about Kari Peter's recent trip to the fruit region of South Africa and possibilities for a 2016 YGA tour "down under!"
Penn State Extension of Lehigh County is pleased to announce a workshop devoted to helping farmers assess and choose marketing methods. Those interested in direct-to-consumer sales will learn with experts from Pennsylvania and New York. There are many ways to sell your product: farmers’ market, CSA, farm stand, wholesale, direct to institution, online, u-pick, and more. This workshop will help you match the right market mix to your customers, your business goals and your personal skills and resources.
Each farmers market has its own personality. But perhaps we can learn a few things about our prospective customers from recent surveys of farmers market customers.
Are you planning for your fertility for next year? Do you need phosphorus or potassium? Is your organic matter low? Here are some things to think about as you consider amending your soil with compost.
If you are working on your plan for next year and it includes leasing land take a look at this sample lease agreement. This agreement compiled by Land for Good outlines the basics of what should be included in a year to year lease agreement.
Help new farmers succeed!
Dairy goat production is an alternative livestock enterprise suitable for many small-scale or part-time livestock operations. Some dairy goat producers have been successful in pasteurizing goat milk and building an on-farm jugging business, while others have ventured into processed milk products for retail distribution, especially specialty cheeses and yogurt. The potential also exists for selling milk to processors, usually on a regional basis. Although fluid milk and processed products are important markets, dairy goat producers should also consider the potential for selling animals to hobbyists and youth involved in vocational agriculture livestock projects.
Susan Schoenian is an Extension Sheep & Goat Specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research & Education Center in Keedysville. She has put together an extensive listing of Ethinic Holidays that may be useful to consider while you create or expand your marketing plan for your lamb and goat meat.
As corn harvest progresses, don't overlook corn stalks as a feed resource for your beef cattle.
To reduce apple scab risk for next season, growers are encouraged to spray a fall application of urea as close to leaf drop as possible. Prune out fire blight strikes now while they are still visible on the tree to prevent cankers from overwintering. For those battling bacterial canker, copper applications are recommended since autumn is an optimal time for high bacterial populations. Additional disease management strategies are also discussed.
Local soils and climatic conditions favor the production of apples with the highest fruit quality, which has been a competitive advantage for the Mid-Atlantic fruit industry over the years. There is a growing interest among consumers for hard cider, and during a January 13th workshop, producers exploring alternative markets for apples will learn how to establish a hard cider orchard and also important considerations for cider production. Register early as space is limited!
The changing of the color of the leaves and the advent of falling temperatures at night along with pumpkin, broccoli, potato and apple harvest signals to me that cooler weather is just around the corner. Having worked many years with irrigation systems and drip irrigation systems in particular, I thought that this would be an appropriate time to share with you some tips on winterizing irrigation systems so that your system will be ready for next spring.
The Seed Farm is proud to announce two full time fellowship opportunities for hands on training in organic vegetable production. Graduates will have access to land and equipment to start their own farms and have the production planning and equipment training to qualify for farm management positions in the community.